Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Global Read Aloud

Global Read Aloud with Padma Venkatraman
by JG Annino 

Hello this lovely Wednesday in June. We become world travelers today,
whether the trip is by story or through seagoing or air-riding.
The Global Read Aloud & one of its 2019 authors,
Padma Venkatraman  take us out into the larger community.

Do you see the kids running across a bridge on the cover, above?
They won my heart & they broke it, so many times.
Such is the power of this story, a singular MG novel about unfortunate
children. It is unusual in the way the street-living children appear naturally
with their full humanity, including humor, creativity, joy & deep intelligence.
I also love how they question each other about Faith & their various beliefs
in the goodness of people.

This month the two girls, a younger sister & an older sister & two boys who aren't
related except through the community of life on the streets,  are
front and center characters
at the annual American Library Association meeting, in Washington, D.C.

These kid characters mesmerized me and they are deservedly here there
everywhere in reading groups, classrooms, home study programs
& award considerations. 

Readers in Global Read Aloud, whether they choose one of several listed
picture books or YA,  or THE BRIDGE HOME, or FRONT DESK by Kelly Yang
(see below) connect with other young readers in creative & deep ways,
to exchange ideas about Story.
Checking out the Global Read Aloud Facebook page I found that after
summer recess, classrooms from South Africa
to North Carolina are lined up to participate with their thoughts on
THE BRIDGE HOME, as is the lucky class of Group Blog's
own Patricia Toht - who told me about this neat connection.

Some children will have a jump start at the book before school resumes
if their families are TV watchers, because
a parents Super Summer list from the popular TODAY show
gave THE BRIDGE HOME a groovy shout-out.

The creator of of Global Read Aloud has been called
out as a cool teacher by Scholastic:

Here is the Global Read Aloud website:

                               Who is the author of THE BRIDGE HOME?

                                                     photo: Highlights Foundation
                                                     Author Padma Venkatraman

Padma Venkatram, Ph.D. worked as a scientist-oceanographer,
sailing world seas researching with and directing scientists onboard
research vessels.
She left her native India, where all of her novels are set, for the UK &
later for the USA East Coast, where she lives with her young family.
She is a popular mentor at reading & writing conferences,  in the USA
& outside the country.

THE BRIDGE HOME follows four characters who form bonds during
difficult times, as children living on the streets of Chennai,
(once known as Madras,) a coastal tourism area of India.
The characters are multi-dimensional, seen as complete
feeling thinking doing youngsters.
Tears may flow during tragic scenes - they did for me -
but because of the author's skillful framing of the story,
the reader is left with great hope.

For more on Padma Venkatraman, here is a lengthy recent Q/A interview
where she discusses craft, research, family & how characters stick
with her, among reader-friendly, writer-friendly, topics.

If your reading days are more often spent among 
Picture Books or Early Readers
you will also want to know that
the talented & prolific artist/ author 
amazing Yuyi Morales
is the 2019 Global Read Aloud picture book author.

And the Early Reader Author is Angela Dominguez, who is new to me,
which is part of what this global connection is all about - finding
books & authors new to you &
outside the place or culture in which you or your students/family/friends,
At Global Read Aloud,
alongside THE BRIDGE HOME by Padma Venkatraman,
please meet
(if you don't already know her p.b Where's Broccoli?)
the awesome Kelly Yang, with FRONT DESK, who is knew to me.
Kelly's poignant story is inspired on her immigrant family life as a child.
If I were a school, I would select each of these MG stories - THE BRIDGE HOME &
We will be reading & hearing much about each of the Global Read Aloud Authors
for many years to come. 

A 2016 Highlights Foundation verse novel workshop brought my opportunity
to meet Padma (& other generous souls - bookstore maven Joanne Fritz, in particular,
who wrote the article linked to, just above.)
Padma asked me probing questions about my abolitionist-topic novel manuscript,
which is no where near revised enough,
but I'm glad we have stayed in touch on other topics.
                  Highlights Foundation - Padma Venkatraman,  Jan Godown Annino


  1. Thanks, Jan, for sharing about this. Very interesting as I had not heard about the Global Read Aloud; however, Korea has something similar among its international schools.

    1. So glad you came to visit, Tina & I thought about you when I was writing it because I feel you & your books will be ideal for it some year.

  2. What an informative post. It’s a great idea for us as readers to broaden our horizons. You have piqued my interest in this project, Jan.

    1. I am glad for this & hope you can read The Bridge Home, Sherri.

  3. The subject matter of The Bridge Home reminds me of One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson. Wondering if that book was used as a comp title. I love seeing how authors have led "past lives" in other careers. I think it can add so much to the unspoken narrative. Thanks for the rundown on Global Read Aloud. Just a quick typo correction: it's Yuyi Morales.

    1. I feel you have mentioned two very similar books & I do love them both. I much earlier enjoyed writing about Leah's on my site, here: I hope you can take a look at that piece, which actually mentions two books. I appreciate very much the sharp-editor eye of you, dear Jlianne with the Yuyi spelling correction. It took me a coupla tries to fix it in both places, but I finally wrangled it!
      Happy summer to you, with thanks for visiting.

  4. Oh, my. We liv isn a small world - I met Padma at Whispering Pines this spring and feel in love with her, her voice, and her work. Great post, Jan.

    1. We are once again writing sisters, with our immediate response to Padma's generosity & huge talent. It's great that you have that connection with her :)
      Hugs to you, dear Kathy.

  5. Thank you, Jan, for sharing Padma's journey into the larger community.

    1. Hi Charlotte! You know, in summer, with so many folks coming & going far places way, especially students, it feels especially wonderful to think about the wide world. I'm glad we are on the same page! Thank you for your visit.

      Happy summer,

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